The men who built the Titanic

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The men who built the Titanic

Postby AllyCat » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:14 pm

I was wondering if anyone can help me find out more about the workers who built the Titanic, and especially her engines.

I have reason to believe that my grandfather was a plumber who worked on the Titanic's engines, in Belfast, although he came from Sunderland. My father told me this when I was a child, and I have discovered that he is listed as living in Belfast on the 1911 Irish Census, occupation "Plumber working at shipyard".

Why would a shipworker from Sunderland have come to Belfast to work on the Titanic? Did Harland and Wolff contract in extra workers from other shipbuilding cities/towns for this enormous build? Or did they subcontract other shipbuilding companies to supply workers or to build specific parts of the ship, such as the engines?

If anyone can enlighten me or tell me where I can find out more, I'd be very grateful.


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Re: The men who built the Titanic

Postby Michael H. Standart » Fri Nov 11, 2011 6:37 am

>>Why would a shipworker from Sunderland have come to Belfast to work on the Titanic?<<

For the usual reasons of work being available there when it might not have been elsewhere. With immigration from one country to another happening for the same reasons, somebody moving to Belfast from another city isn't much of a stretch.
Michael H. Standart
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Re: The men who built the Titanic

Postby AllyCat » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:55 pm

Yes, I do see that.

The thing is that I do know that he was in Sunderland in 1901, working as an errand boy, aged 14, according to the 1901 census. Then he married my grandmother in Nov 1911 back in Sunderland and stayed there for the rest of his life.

I guess part of the problem is that I don't know when he went out there. If he was there for several years prior to 1911, that would make sense - he was 25 in 1911. Was there a shortage of work at the docks in Sunderland between 1901 and 1911? What about other docks in England? Would Belfast be a better option than somewhere nearer at hand? Were workers specifically being recruited in places like Sunderland for Harland and Wolff in Belfast? Would he have worked on other Harland and Wolff ships, perhaps other White Star liners?

Would there be any Harland and Wolff employee records or other Belfast (or Sunderland) dock workers records I could look into?

Any help would be appreciated.

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Re: The men who built the Titanic

Postby VW1956 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:26 pm

Hello Ally. I would guess that as you discovered that your grandfather was living in Belfast and was a plumber in a shipyard then it's very possible he worked on Titanics engines (and maybe others). I seem to remember someone else asking if there were any records to look at listing people who worked for Harland and Wolff. Seem to remember that there were none or maybe the local museum might have any if they did excist. Happy hunting. Ken.
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Re: The men who built the Titanic

Postby pat toms » Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:10 pm

Ally,A lot of people worked in Harland and Wolff,some came up from co cork,and some from england that i know of in 1911 it was a case of work or starve,the north east of england,which provided workers was were at one stage when the Belfast workers went on strike,a lot of geordies were employed to fill the gap,this was when sir edward harland was in the firm probably the 1920,s ,then again in the 1980,s the 3,000 workers at harland and wolff were told that if they went on strike that it would imperil the orders for ships,they went on strike and so they brought over geordies on a contract basis to do the work,eventually no more orders were forthcoming and harland and wolff stopped building ships.The records of the workers in harland and wolff were in the 20,000 bracket in 1911 and records were i should think have been destroyed by now but i could be wrong
pat toms

Re: The men who built the Titanic

Postby BrownOwl » Thu Apr 12, 2012 9:12 am

I'm also trying to find out about my Great-Grandfather who, according to family stories, also travelled from Sunderland to work as a carpenter on Titanic.
My grandmother, his daughter, always told me that he had a ticket for the maiden voyage, but the train was late and he missed the boat.
I would love to find out if these stories are true.
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Men Working on The Building of the Titanic

Postby jaypee5 » Tue Feb 26, 2013 10:57 pm

I have recently found out that a relative, George Black Scott, born 1878, in Sunderland, was working on the construction or fitting of the Titanic. George his wife Georgina and their family apparently moved to Ireland whilst he worked on the ship. Certainly they were not at their home address in Sunderland County Durham on the night of the 1911 English census, 2 April 1911.

The 1901 census is lists him as a Boilermaker in the Sunderland Shipyards. His father Thomas Scott, born 1845 in Sunderland, is a Shipyard Blacksmith.

Do you have access to any information that would help me to confirm that he and perhaps his father, were working on the Titanic and that they were in fact in Ireland at that time.
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